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Env_ethics_Syllabus_SP2011 - Ethics and the Environment STS...

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Ethics and the Environment STS 2061 / BSOC 2061 / PHIL 2460 Spring 2011 Tu/Th, 10:10 – 11:25 am Kaufmann Auditorium (G64), Goldwin Smith Hall PROFESSOR SARA PRITCHARD Office 301 Rockefeller Office hours Tuesdays, 2:30 – 4:30 pm; and by appointment Email [email protected] Mr. Aydin Akyurtlu Ms. Amy Kohout Office 172 Rockefeller Office B1 McGraw Office hours Fridays, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Office hours Thursdays, 12:00 – 2:00pm Email [email protected] Email [email protected] Course description Politicians, scientists, and citizens world-wide face many environmental issues today: GMOs, climate change, wilderness preservation and indigenous peoples, consumption, and more. These issues are neither simple nor straight-forward. Moreover, there are many ways to understand how we have , do , and could value the environment—from animal rights and wise use to deep ecology and eco-feminism. Each of these approaches makes important assumptions about the definition of nature, how humans and the environment should relate, and what is and should be valued. All of these assumptions have significant implications for not only the planet, but also humanity. This class acquaints students with some of the challenging moral issues that arise in the context of environmental management and policy-making, both in the past and the present, for experts and lay people. Environmental concerns also highlight important economic, epistemological, legal, political, and social questions in assessing our moral obligations to the natural world, as well as to other humans. This course examines various perspectives expressed in both contemporary and historical debates over environmental ethics by exploring four central questions: Who counts in environmental ethics? What is nature? How do we know nature? And whose nature? Course objectives This class has several objectives. By the end of the semester, students should be able to: Analyze and appreciate the ways in which “ethics,” “the environment,” and “environ- mental ethics” are all culturally and historically situated. Identify, explain, and analyze some of the major concepts and approaches to environmental ethics. Identify, examine, and evaluate both the ethical foundations and implications of environmental policies and practices in the past, present, and those considered for future.
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Ethics and the Environment / Appreciate the significance and consequences of ethical positions in the past for peoples and environments in the present and future. Identify, explain, and assess some of the ethical assumptions and consequences of various arguments related to diverse environmental issues in scholarly, popular, and political discourses. Reflect upon and develop their own informed, critical position regarding “environmental ethics.” Required readings One book—Louis P. Pojman and Paul Pojman, eds., Environmental Ethics: Readings in Theory and Application , 5 th ed . (Wadsworth, 2007)—is required. It is available at the Cornell Store and Kraftees in Collegetown. Two copies have been put on 2-hour reserve at the library.
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